WUXI, Jiangsu, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Yuan Longping, known as the "father of hybrid rice", said on Sunday that his team was working on a new version of high-yield hybrid rice and might complete it in 2012.
Yuan, director of the National Hybrid Rice Engineering Technology Research Center and a faculty member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, made the remarks at the World Expo's third theme forum, which opened on Sunday in Wuxi, in east China's Jiangsu Province.
The new hybrid, the phase-III super hybrid rice, was expected to yield 13.5 tonnes of rice per hectare, Yuan said.
The previous hybrid, the second-generation super hybrid, was released for commercial production in 2006, yielding 9 tonnes of rice per hectare, on average
Rice is a major food crop that feeds more than half of the world's population, Yuan said.
China is now planting 440 million mu (29 million hectares) of rice per year, with an average output capacity of 6.3 tonnes per hectare.
Among the acreage, hybrid rice accounts for about 57 percent of the total, with an average output capacity of 7.2 tonnes per hectare.
"The average yield of hybrid rice is at least 20 percent more than that of inbred rice, feeding 70 million more people annually," Yuan said.